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Coughing
Other Names
Cough, Coughs, Dry Cough, Cough and Cold, Common Cold.

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Description
A cough is a sudden indrawing of air with the glottis wide open. This is followed by a blowing out of air against a closed glottis. The glottis then suddenly opens and the air in the lungs is expelled under high pressure - up to 300 millimetres of mercury and at a speed of 960 kilometres (600 miles) an hour. Its purpose is to rid the air passages and windpipe of what are colloquially known as foreign bodies, including the excessive mucus and other secretions produced in infections of the lungs and upper air passages, such as bronchitis and sore throats. As such secretions contain many micro-organisms, it is clear what an important part coughing plays in spreading the common cold and other infections of the nose, throat and lungs. It is a reflex action produced by stimulation of nerve endings in the air passages and may therefore be induced by irritation of these nerve endings by inflammation without any secretion. This results in the dry irritable cough which can be such a troublesome feature of the early and late stages of acute bronchitis, tracheitis and laryngitis. Conversely the inability to cough in inflammatory conditions of the lungs, such as bronchitis and broncho-pneumonia, especially in old folk, is an ominous sign, and every effort must be made to stimulate coughing so far as this is possible.

Cough is a symptom of many diseases. Most coughs come from simple viral infections, such as the common cold. Sometimes, but not always, mucus is produced with the cough. If the color is green or yellow, it may be a hint of a bacterial infection, although this is not always a reliable indicator. If the color is red, there may be bleeding in the lungs. Any cough that produces blood or blood-stained mucus, as well as any cough that lasts more than two weeks, requires a visit to a medical professional for diagnosis.

Conventional treatment options: Conventional treatment for cough is primarily directed at the underlying cause. Symptoms may be treated with cough suppressants (e.g., codeine and dextromethorphan), demulcent syrups or lozenges (e.g., acacia, licorice, and glycerin) to soothe the throat and airway, expectorants (e.g., iodide solutions and guaifenesin) to help expel mucus, and mucolytics (e.g., acetylcysteine) to help thin mucus secretions.

Herbs that may be helpful: A number of herbs have a rich history of use for treating coughs due to colds, bronchitis, or other mild conditions. Only a few studies have examined the effectiveness of these herbs. However, their effectiveness is well-known by practitioners of herbal medicine the world over. Among those herbs that have been shown to have some degree of cough-relieving activity are marshmallow,1 sundew,2 and coltsfoot.3 Use of coltsfoot should be limited to preparations of the leaves and flowers only, as the root is high in pyrrolizidine alkaloids, constituents that may be toxic to the liver.

Thyme has a long history of use in Europe for the treatment of dry, spasmodic coughs as well as for bronchitis.4 Many constituents in thyme team up to provide its antitussive (preventing and treating a cough), antispasmodic, and expectorant actions. The primary constituents are the volatile oils, which include the phenols thymol and carvacol.5 These are complemented by the actions of flavonoids along with saponins. Thyme, either alone or in combination with herbs such as sundew, continues to be one of the most commonly recommended herbs in Europe for the treatment of dry, spasmodic coughs as well as for whooping cough.6 Because of its apparent safety, it has become a favorite for treating coughs in small children.

The active constituents in anise (Pimpinella anisum), particularly the terpenoid anethole, give this plant a delightful flavor. As an antispasmodic, it helps in gently relieving spasmodic coughs.7

The mucilage of slippery elm gives it a soothing effect for coughs. Usnea also contains mucilage, which may be helpful in easing irritating coughs. There is a long tradition of using wild cherry syrups to treat coughs. Other traditional remedies to relieve coughs include bloodroot, catnip, comfrey (the above-ground parts, not the root), horehound, elecampane, mullein, lobelia, ephedra, hyssop, licorice, mallow (Malvia sylvestris),red clover, ivy leaf, pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides, Mentha pulegium), onion (Allium cepa), and plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P. major). None of these has been investigated in human trials, so their true efficacy for relieving coughs is unknown.

The early 19th-century Eclectic physicians in the United States (who used herbs as their main medicine) not only employed eucalyptus oil to sterilize instruments and wounds but also recommended a steam inhalation of the oil's vapor to help treat asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, and emphysema.8

Are there any side effects or interactions? Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.

Other integrative approaches that may be helpful: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) may be helpful in the treatment of a cough. Cupping (the use of a glass cup to create suction over a skin surface) is a traditional Chinese therapy, often used for patients to help relieve a cough. An uncontrolled study using cupping to relieve coughs reported a curative response in 35 of 41 patients.9 Other TCM therapies, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, may be helpful in cough-producing ailments such as asthma and bronchitis.

References:

1. Nosal'ova G, Strapkova A, Kardosova A, et al. Antitussive action of extracts and polysaccharides of marshmallow (Althea officinalis L, var robusta). Pharmazie 1992;47:224-6 [in German].

2. Schilcher H. Phytotherapy in Paediatrics. Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers, 1997, 38.

3. Wichtl M, Bisset N (eds). Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Stuttgart: Medpharm Scientific Publishers and Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994.

4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 492-5.

5. Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics, 1998, 1184-5.

6. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenburg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 208-9.

7. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield,UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203-4.

8. Castleman M. The Healing Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1991, 162-3.

9. Liu X. Treatment of cough in children by cupping on back. J Tradit Chin Med 1996;16:125.

Source: NOW Foods

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Product Categories
Anise, Asparagus, Borage, Bugleweed, Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil, Coltsfoot, Common Ivy, Couch Grass, Elecampane, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Ginseng, Graviola (Soursop), Hawthorn, Horehound, Horseradish, Licorice Root, Pennyroyal, Plantain, Red Clover, White Slippery Elm

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Coughing - Symptoms, Indications and Actions

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Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil - (Melaleuca) - 100% Pure Essential Oil

Thyme White Pure Essential Oil

Thyme White Pure Essential Oil

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Root - 250 mg

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Root - 250 mg

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Tagetes (Marigold) Pure Essential Oil

Red Clover Tops Tea (Loose)

Red Clover Tops Tea (Loose)

Red Clover Tops Tea (Loose)

Red Clover Tops Tea (Loose)

Red Clover Tops Tea

Red Clover Tops Tea

Red Clover Tops Tea

Red Clover Tops Tea

Licorice Root Tea

Licorice Root Tea

Licorice Root Tea

Licorice Root Tea

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea (Loose)

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea (Loose)

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea (Loose)

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) Tea (Loose)

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea (Loose)

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea (Loose)

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea (Loose)

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea (Loose)

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea

Licorice Flavoured Ceylon Tea

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Fennel Seed Tea

Fennel Seed Tea

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Fennel Seed Tea (Loose Tea)

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Digestive Formula Tea

Digestive Formula Tea

Digestive Formula Tea

Digestive Formula Tea

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea (Loose)

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea (Loose)

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea (Loose)

Eucalyptus Leaf Tea (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 4-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula (Loose)

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula

Original Ojibwa 8-Herb Formula

Lin-Chi Tea

Lin-Chi Tea

Lin-Chi Tea

Lin-Chi Tea

Eliminator Tea

Eliminator Tea

Eliminator Tea

Eliminator Tea

Plantain Leaf Tea

Plantain Leaf Tea

Plantain Leaf Tea

Plantain Leaf Tea

Plantain Leaf Tea (Loose)

Plantain Leaf Tea (Loose)

Plantain Leaf Tea (Loose)

Plantain Leaf Tea (Loose)

Asparagus Root Tea

Asparagus Root Tea

Asparagus Root Tea

Asparagus Root Tea

Asparagus Root Tea (Loose)

Asparagus Root Tea (Loose)

Asparagus Root Tea (Loose)

Asparagus Root Tea (Loose)

Elecampane Root Tea

Elecampane Root Tea

Elecampane Root Tea

Elecampane Root Tea

Elecampane Root Tea (Loose)

Elecampane Root Tea (Loose)

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Elecampane Root Tea (Loose)

Anise Seed Tea

Anise Seed Tea

Anise Seed Tea

Anise Seed Tea

Anise Seed Tea (Loose)

Anise Seed Tea (Loose)

Anise Seed Tea (Loose)

Anise Seed Tea (Loose)

Horehound Tea

Horehound Tea

Horehound Tea

Horehound Tea

Horehound Tea (Loose)

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Anise Seed - Salve Ointment

Anise Seed - Salve Ointment

Anise Seed - Cream

Anise Seed - Cream

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Elecampane Root - Salve Ointment

Elecampane Root - Salve Ointment

Elecampane Root - Cream

Elecampane Root - Cream

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Salve Ointment

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Salve Ointment

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Cream

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Cream

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Asparagus Root - Salve Ointment

Asparagus Root - Salve Ointment

Asparagus Root - Cream

Asparagus Root - Cream

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Salve Ointment

Eucalyptus Leaf - Salve Ointment

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Horehound - Salve Ointment

Horehound - Salve Ointment

Horehound - Cream

Horehound - Cream

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Fennel Seed - Salve Ointment

Fennel Seed - Salve Ointment

Fennel Seed - Cream

Fennel Seed - Cream

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Graviola (Soursop) Powder

Graviola (Soursop) Powder

Graviola (Soursop) Powder

Graviola (Soursop) Powder

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Elecampane Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Couch Grass (Dog Grass) - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Asparagus Root - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Eucalyptus Leaf - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Horehound - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Fennel Seed - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Red Clover Tops - Cream

Red Clover Tops - Cream

Red Clover Tops - Salve Ointment

Red Clover Tops - Salve Ointment

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - No Flavor

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Strawberry Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Chocolate Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Vanilla Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Coltsfoot - Glycerite Liquid Extract (1:5) - Mint Flavored

Coltsfoot - Cream

Coltsfoot - Cream

Coltsfoot - Salve Ointment

Coltsfoot - Salve Ointment


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